ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's Houthi rebel group has called for striking the U.S. military bases in the region in swift reprisal for the killing of the senior Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.
In a statement by the group's political bureau on Friday, the rebels considered the U.S. killing of Soleimani as "a war crime," saying "striking the American bases in the region is the only available solution."
"The peoples of the region should realize that their security and stability are subject to proceeding with the liberating project until the expulsion of the American occupier," the statement read.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, leader of the Houthi group, also strongly condemned "the assassination of Soleimani" and called for a "swift and direct response."
Large billboards bearing the portrait of Soleimani appeared on the major streets of the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa.
Meanwhile, officials of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government expressed support for the killing of Soleimani and considered the U.S. move "an important step to end the conflict in the region."
"The state of shock and tears that Houthis dropped in Sanaa after the killing of Soleimani confirms what we said about their relationship with Iran," said Yemeni Minister of Information Muammar Iryani said on his official Twitter account.
"Houthis' position doesn't represent the Yemenis," he added, referring to Soleimani's killing as "a move to undermine Iran's hegemony policies."
Earlier in the day, a senior pro-government Yemeni military official said "a well-prepared military strike" assassinated a key commander of the Houthi group named Abdul-Ridha Shahlay in Sanaa.
"The killed Houthi leader was one of the most wanted elements in Yemen and the region," he added, without providing details about the operation.
Early on Friday, Qasem Soleimani, commander of Quds Force of Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, were killed in a U.S. drone strike near Baghdad airport, sparking outrage among some Iraqi parties and politicians.
In October 2015, the internationally-recognized Yemeni government announced the severance of all diplomatic and political relations with Iran.
The Yemeni government has repeatedly accuses Iran of meddling in Yemen and supporting the Houthi rebel group.
The Houthis have been in control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa and several other northern provinces since September 2014.